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Why College Applicants Should Brand Themselves

Why Students Should Brand ThemselvesAccording to the American Marketing Association (AMA), branding is defined as a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”

In other words, your brand is what makes you stand out against the competition.

And while I don’t necessarily like to use the word competition when we talk about the college admissions process, students are very much competing against one another for acceptance at the most selective schools in the country. Branding yourself in the process can very often play a significant role in whether or not your application is given that extra consideration.

When I was in admissions, I was always looking for evidence that a student truly had a grasp of what it would take to do well in their chosen field. I worked very closely with business majors and nursing majors and beyond challenging courses and strong test scores, students who had compiled some experiences through job shadows, informational interviews, research projects, part-time jobs or internships, clubs, activities and advanced coursework  which supported their interest most definitely had my attention. To me, they were vested in their future. They were taking the steps to learn more about their interests and their field of choice.

I’m a firm believer that if you do more of what you love, if you invest your time in the things that matter the most to you, if you delve deep into the subjects you are both interested in and good at, you will find success in life. Along the way you will also demonstrate to others what you are all about and what matters most to you. You will be demonstrating your brand as a person.

So, here’s how you get started.

Stop doing the things you think other people expect you to do and start doing things you are good at, the things you love to do and the things that are most important to you:

  1. Take the honors or AP option in the subjects at which you excel the most and where the subject is closely aligned to your major of interest.
  1. Reach out to someone in the local community who does what you think you might want to do in your future and ask to interview them or, even better, shadow them for part of a day.
  1. Volunteer your time to a cause or organization related to your interests.
  1. Join a club at your school and figure out a way to add something of value to it and the people involved.
  1. Find a part-time job that gets you in the door somewhere where you will learn more about your major or your intended field.

It’s never too late to start building a brand towards your future. Not only will you better yourself for it, but admission counselors will get a much deeper impression of who you are and why you should be part of their new class. Do that and you may just separate yourself a bit in the application process.

If you would like some assistance with your college search, contact me today for a free 60-minute consultation.

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